U.N. Panel Launches Blueprint for Sustainable Development

  • by Thalif Deen (united nations)
  • Inter Press Service

The proposals include a new 'ever-green revolution' to double productivity and reduce resource use; a Sustainable Development Index to measure environmental progress; a Global Sustainable Development Council to replace the current Commission on Sustainable Development, and a Global Fund for Education.

The panel also calls for a regular Global Sustainable Development Outlook report that integrates knowledge across different sectors and the establishment of a science advisory board or a U.N. scientific advisor.

The 56 recommendations will go before the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, scheduled to take place in Brazil in June this year.

Speaking at the launch of the new report, on the margins of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the recommendations had added importance because 'I have made sustainable development my number one priority for my second (five-year) term in office.'

'Both science and economics tell us our current path is unsustainable,' he warned.

Ecosystems are under stress. Economies are faltering. The human appetite for resources keeps growing, he added.

'We need to chart a new, more sustainable course for the future, one that strengthens equality and economic growth while protecting our planet,' he said.

Sustainable development offers our best chance to change course, Ban declared.

The 22-member panel, co-chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma and Finnish President Tarja Halonen, was set up in August 2010, and includes current and former heads of state, government ministers, and representatives of the private sector and civil society.

Zuma told reporters that with the possibility of the world slipping further into recession, policymakers are hungry for ideas that can help them to navigate these difficult times.

'Our report makes clear that sustainable development is more important than ever given the multiple crises now enveloping the world,' he said.

Halonen emphasised the importance of placing people at the centre of achieving sustainable development.

'Eradication of poverty and improving equity must remain priorities for the world community,' she added.

Titled 'Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing', the report is being described as 'a new blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity'.

The proposals made by the panel are aimed at progress primarily in three key sectors: empowering people to make sustainable choices; working towards and sustainable economy; and strengthening institutional governance to support sustainable development.

Among its recommendations are proposals for ensuring that women have full and equal access to and control over productive resources through the equal right to own property and the right to inherit, and equal access to credit, financial and extension services along the entire value chain.

'Governments and non-governmental entities should promote the concept of sustainable development and sustainable consumption, and these should be integrated into curricula of primary and secondary education.'

The report also calls on governments to work with appropriate stakeholders to provide citizens, especially those in remote areas, with access to technologies, including universal telecommunications and broadband networks, by 2025.

As international sustainable development policy is fragmented and, in particular, the environmental pillar is weak, the Nairobi-based U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) should be strengthened.

The secretary-general has been called upon to 'expedite the development of a sustainable development strategy for the U.N. system in order to contribute to coherence, better define responsibilities among U.N. bodies, reduce overlap and duplication and improve accountability for implementation.'

This strategy should be reviewed by all relevant U.N. bodies and governing boards, with a special effort being made to forge a unified view among countries common to all boards and processes.

© Inter Press Service (2012) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service